Take a deep dive with Shawn Walchef and Name Drop San Diego on all things Digital and Hospitality in this podcast episode.
The San Diego Union-Tribune puts out a really good San Diego local podcast with the weekly Name Drop San Diego show, hosted by Abby Hamblin and Kristy Totten and featuring the people that make San Diego proud.
Listen to this repurposed special episode and let us know what you liked and learned by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or getting in touch with the Cali BBQ Media team on Social Media. Follow @calibbqmedia @calibbq @shawnpwalchef and slide into our DMs.
SHAWN WALCHEF INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS —
The Barrio Food Hub:
So we’re very, very excited about the ghost kitchen opportunity and what we call it is … our expansion into “friendly” ghost kitchens. So the fear that I have with ghost kitchens is that it’s going to be kind of this gold rush for restaurant brands, and multi-unit concepts to go in and to serve food to third-party markets. You know, there’s a lot of people now that are ordering on their phones, they’re ordering on Uber Eats, they’re ordering on Grubhub, they’re ordering on DoorDash. So there’s a huge market and a huge demand for people getting food how they want it. You know, no longer can we discriminate [against] having somebody that wants great barbecue to have to drive, you know, a half-hour from Escondido down to Cali Comfort on an NFL Sunday, wait an hour in line to get a table because you know the Chargers are playing the Raiders. And then maybe not have brisket because maybe we’re sold out. Like we have to be better than that. And our whole goal with a friendly ghost kitchen is to describe the story. To let people know this is the heart of who we are. This is the brand. If you want to see the ribs getting smoked, you can go to our Instagram page, you can go to our Twitter feed. Like, this is all smoked today. Once we’re out, we’re out. But now we can bring that to another location and service an entire part of San Diego that we weren’t able to service before. So you know, Barrio Logan’s just an incredible community that connects us to Downtown San Diego, to National City, to you know, the community in Barrio Logan, to the Navy base, to NASSCO. I mean it’s so many amazing people that now don’t have to drive to Spring Valley to enjoy our brisket. They can literally go on their phone in order through Uber Eats and get it in 20 minutes delivered, you know, to their office building or to their place of work.
Preferred style of barbecue sauce:
To be honest with you, I’m less of a sauce guy. I’m more of a meat guy. More of a meat and dry rub guy. So we serve sauce on the side. We like to let people taste the smoke, taste the flavor, taste the meat. Obviously we love our sauce, but we’re a little bit more dry.
Best advice ever received:
My grandfather … taught me to stay curious, get involved and ask for help.
Deciding to prioritize the digital experience:
We do a weekly podcast called Digital Hospitality and we wanted to call it that because what we’ve realized kind of in our 13 years of being in business, failing, doing a lot of things wrong, doing all different types of marketing, learning social media, learning digital media, learning how to run our website, we’ve learned how important the internet is. We’ve learned how important the smartphone is, how important content creation is. And we know that all businesses, no matter what business you’re in, needs to be digital. … It’s so important now in this day and age to be where people are, and people are on their phones, people are on these different apps.
The mindset of Digital Hospitality:
I mean, I think one of the most important things is that actually, we do share everything. And I think that’s what makes us different and unique is that we know that it’s not about us. It’s so much bigger than us and if we’re willing to share the new technology that we’re bringing into our restaurant, that we can help empower other restaurants to do the same thing. During the pandemic, we’ve become three times more profitable as a digital-first restaurant than we ever were as a full-service restaurant and sports bar. It was the first time that we opened a second location, which is our Barrio Logan ghost kitchen location. A lot of people talk about the pandemic and making a pivot, you know, pivoting to investing in digital and investing in social media content creation. We already knew that that stuff made us who we were. It was in our DNA. I mean, we’ve been putting on a podcast since 2017. We know how important digital storytelling is, content creation and, and interacting with people and building community online as much as we do in real life. But one of the most important things for us was understanding, how can we create content that’s not just valuable to us, but it’s valuable to our restaurant partners, and it’s valuable to another restaurant owner?
— Thank you to everyone at Name Drop San Diego for featuring the Digital Hospitality mission on the show.
STAY CURIOUS | GET INVOLVED | ASK FOR HELP